Khost: At last 27 soldiers have been killed and over 50 people were injured as an explosion ripped through a mosque inside an Afghan army base on Friday in the volatile eastern Khost province. Spokesman Abdullah said it still wasn’t clear whether the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber or whether a remotely detonated device was used.Also Read - Taliban Ask Officials Not to Carry Out Public Executions Unless Directed by 'Top Court'
However, no group immediately has claimed responsibility for the attack. The base is located in eastern Khost province, a stronghold of the Haqqani-linked Taliban group. Also Read - Taliban Intimidation Causing School Attendance Rates to Remain Low
According to reports, the explosion targeted the army members when they were conducting their Friday prayers inside a military base. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber, but Khost province is a stronghold of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network. The Taliban, however, have in the past decried attacks on religious gatherings but have almost daily targeted Afghan military and security forces. Also Read - G20 Pledges Aid to Afghanistan But No Recognition For Govt
The head of the hospital in Khost, Sakhi Sardar, said that those injured in the blast are being treated for shrapnel wounds.
According to a report by Times Now, provincial public health director Gul Ahmad Shah said three bodies and 44 wounded soldiers were admitted at the Khost city hospital. Four military helicopters were sent to dispatch wounded soldiers to Kabul, defence ministry spokesman Ghafoor Ahmad Jawed told AFP.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has condemned the explosion calling it “anti-Islamic and inhumane.” In a statement, Ghani ordered an investigation into the incident to ascertain the security lapse due to which incident occurred at the army base. He also said that those responsible for the terror attack would be punished.
Earlier in June, a total of 20 people were killed and 16 others were injured in a suicide bombing in Rodat district of Afghanistan. The blast rocked a gathering of Afghan security forces, civilians and Taliban in the evening in Nanagarhar region.
The explosion happened at an Eid gathering between Taliban and Afghan security forces who were celebrating the ceasefire, Nangarhar spokesman Attaullah Khogyani was quoted as saying by TOLO News.